Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata, is most commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. Although most blue jays are non-migratory, northern populations do migrate to warmer areas during cold periods, and the species is occasionally encountered in Utah during the winter. The blue jay prefers forest and woodland habitats, although it may also be found in parks and suburban areas.

Nests are built above the ground in trees. The female lays a clutch of three to six eggs; the eggs are incubated by the female alone for about 16 to 18 days. Both parents attend to the young, which leave the nest at about three weeks of age.

The blue jay eats primarily fruits, nuts, seeds, and insects, although small vertebrate animals are also consumed. Food may be stored in the ground for later use.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.